Dii - Desert Energy

Launched in 2009 as an industry initiative in Germany (initially called ‘Desertec Industrial Initiative’) for exploring the potential of renewables in the desert areas of Northern Africa and the Middle East, improving market conditions and examining the synergies to be captured through connecting the European and MENA power markets.

In 10 years’ time, Dii Desert Energy has grown from a rudimentary ‘Desertec Vision’, initially mainly concentrated on power from the deserts for Europe, (Desertec 1.0) via a focus on the conditions of renewables in the local markets (Desertec 2.0) toward a highly recognized market enabler for ‘green electrons’ and ‘green molecules’ from the deserts of MENA for MENA’s own population, and for MENA to become a ‘Power House’ for the world markets (Desertec 3.0). Today, Dii Desert Energy are looking at the entire power system starting with various forms of Renewable Energy (RE) generation, grids, new technologies & innovations, energy storage, e-mobility, smart cities, towards the long-term objective of ‘energy without emissions’.

Dear Partners in the Renewable Energy industry,

I hope a quick glance of our work will please you as our industry platform is the first and (still) only initiative in MENA & Turkey for guiding the industry towards a fully emission free power supply. Until about 2014 solar and wind were broadly considered ‘exotic’, too expensive, too volatile, only producing during the day etc. to be taken seriously. That has changed dramatically in the last few years, since unsubsidized costs of solar PV, CSP and wind have generally dropped below the cost levels for fossil and nuclear alternatives. Record PPA prices of PV stand at 1.8€ct/KWh in KSA, for CSP 7.3 €ct/KWh in Dubai and 2.5 €ct/KWh for Wind in Morocco!! These ultra-low costs will swiftly be revolutionizing the markets. One may even ask ‘who would from now on still dare to invest in non-renewables’? However, ‘low costs’ sounds encouraging, but is it realistic to assume that renewables will take over completely from non-renewables? What about the often heard criticisms that renewables cannot be fully integrated in the power systems? Are the low prices convincing enough for developers and investors? Are the country related conditions in MENA sound enough for investors? Etc. The good news is: YES, ‘fully renewable’ is feasible’, both technically and economically and it even offers massive potential for local industries and jobs. But, that will not be easy in each country. A lot must be organized to move the market safely in the right direction. All ‘BIG 4’ elements of the market – (i) decentralized/centralized generation, (ii) interconnected grids/energy transport,(iii) storage and (iv) flexible demand - shall be fully mobilized locally and across borders to ensure security of emission free supply at lowest costs. This will in particular bring smart demand and storage into the focus e.g. smart city solutions, smart cooling or heating, PV based desalination, electric vehicles, bulk data processing etc. Also storage and transport media such as hydrogen will take part of the market. No matter how, the power markets will definitely turn totally upside down in the coming years. And, it will go fast. Very fast! The drivers of renewables, interconnected market and smart cities, including ACWA Power, State Grid Corporation of China, innogy, Saudi Al Gihaz and Alfanar, Masdar, DEWA, ABB, Siemens, First Solar, TSK, Noor and many other players are also pushing the industry platform Dii Desert Energy. These companies will tell us how they have set the stage and what practical experiences they have gained in the ongoing disruption processes.

Paul Van Son
CEO & President
Dii Desert Energy


Mustapha Bakkoury
Chairman, MASEN


"With Dii we have a common vision regarding solar energy potential and its ability to provide an answer to both energy and environmental concerns we share with the European Community. Therefore, we strongly believe that a win-win situation can materialize in the short term. Morocco, with its audacious and pro-active solar plan held by Masen, is fully committed to this vision."

Paddy Padmanathan


"The only way we can survive is to deliver energy to the lowest possible price. We in Saudi Arabia have significant renewable resources both wind and solar and they are already on a good way. We are with Dii to make that development faster."

Torsten Jeworrek
CEO of Reinsurance, Munich Re


"In EU we are on a crossroad, if we get more union respective energy supply or if we fall back in totally self-contained countries. I strongly vote for a United EU based on renewable energies with strong relationship with our neighbors."

Liangzhong Yao,
Senior Executive, State Grid of China, CEPRI


“Dii has been a very capable energy transition partner for several years. CEPRI is pleased to support Dii with power grid expertise for the MENA region and beyond.”

Quick Links


Desert Power: Getting Started


Desert Power: Getting Connected


Desert Power


Dii: RE Projects


Dii: GIS


The Economic impacts of Desert Power

Dii toolkit5

Dii Toolkit for Renewables

Follow us on Twitter